Afraid of Becoming a Man

Well, welcome to the sub! Sounds like you've had a hell of a journey with your gender identity. Don't apologize for rambling, that is totally ok. You've got a lot you need to say.

I'm sorry you got exposed to that terfy/women-are-better-because-fertility-sexism and that your Dad was a crap role model of what a good man can be. I didn't get too deep into that mother-goddess fertility woo-y-ness, but it was a phase I brushed upon in a more tangential way, while trying to hold onto belief in a deity. So, I feel ya when you talk about the disconnect between gender, religion, and your experience as a masculine trans person. My dad was also an example of less than admirable masculinity and basically fucked my mind over for many years (lol, no biggie, Dad. Thanks for the PTSD). So, most of my life I've been compared to my Dad, because it strokes his narcissistic ego and allowed him to live vicariously through me as an in-the-closet trans woman (probably). Very early on this led me to obsess about being different from and a better person than my Dad.

And I think it's absolutely possible for you and I to forge our own version of masculinity that transcends our experiences with our dads and all the messages we got from sexism masquarading as feminism.

Yeah, it is terrifying imagining becoming the kind of man my Dad "is." (I don't really know Dad's gender) No way in hell do I want to be some sexist jerk either.

You know, examples of decent guys can be hard to find in certain places. I always wished I had a mentor who could show me how to be a more capable person, sort of fill in what my parents couldn't teach me and didn't know. Healthy role models aren't always what you see in mass media either. It's not sexy or exciting (read profitable) for the media to show us male role models living life the way decent guys do. Not many people want to go see a movie about the trials of a loving teenage brother, or would want to buy the cologne pictured in an ad with a conscientious male employee of the month, or would want to download a single about an emotionally healthy guy exploring his spirituality. I have struggled with wanting better rolemodels too--but I think I was looking in the wrong places. These guys are out there, they're just not highly visible.

Think about the men in your life that you do like. They're usually ordinary people doing life and not being assholes. Like my parents' friend...this guy is a nurse, has raised two well-adjusted kids, has a great marriage, has a circle of interesting friends, has bought and kept up a nice house, has taken care of his parents and prepared for his family's financial future. He's funny and soft-spoken and intelligent. He's good with animals, kids, and the elderly. He's a good listener and he's a solid person you can trust and count on. This guy is friggin' awesome but I would never have thought of him of a role model until I adjusted my expectations of what a role model is. (By the way, thanks for writing about this topic, because you made me think about it and helped me recognize there are some cool dudes in my life I can look up to)

It's so easy to get distracted by the razzle dazzle of what the media portrays as masculinity. Maybe looking closer to home will help you find guys you can respect and think about how you can become a guy you would respect too. Maybe you'll have to seek them out in your community.

/r/ftm Thread